Beth Reekles is the teen sensation behind THE KISSING BOOTH, officially one of the world’s most influential teenagers and the newest author to join the Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency, agented by Clare Wallace.
At fifteen, Beth began uploading her debut novel THE KISSING BOOTH to story-sharing platform Wattpad, where it quickly accumulated over 19 million reads. She was picked up by Random House UK at the age of seventeen while she was still doing her A Levels.
Now studying Physics at Exeter University, Beth has already had THE KISSING BOOTH, ROLLING DICE, and OUT OF TUNE all published with Random House along with being shortlisted for multiple awards, receiving the Scout Birthday Honours Writing Badge and having been named one of Time magazine’s 16 Most Influential Teenagers in 2013 she has just been listed at No.6 on The Times’ Top 20 Under 25 list.
In celebration of Beth joining the agency, Emma Winter was able to grab a moment with Beth to discuss the realities of being a published author, where she gets her inspiration and what she’s reading this summer!
Emma Winter: When did you tell your parents that you were contributing to WattPad? Were they surprised by your success?
Beth Reekles: I told them about three months into posting my first story on Wattpad that I was posting a book I was writing online and it had maybe twenty thousand reads at that point. They didn’t really know what to say – and had nothing to compare the number of reads to, so didn’t think much of it.
When The Kissing Booth started getting 400,000, then 900,000, then two million, then five million, reads, they started to take more notice. They were certainly surprised when I revealed I’d been writing avidly since they gave me a laptop when I was twelve, and I hadn’t told them all that time!
EW: Has being a published author been anything like you expected?
BR: It’s been a complete whirlwind, and it’s all happened very quickly! I don’t really know what I was expecting from being a published author, but it’s certainly been very exciting – meeting other authors, being on TV to talk about my books… and I still go looking for my book every time I go into a Waterstones!
EW: Where did you, or where do you, get your inspiration from?
BR: I’ve always written the kind of books I like to read. When I was younger, I wrote more fantasy, but the last few years I’ve preferred teen romance. I look to teen movies, YA books, and movie and TV soundtracks when I need inspiration. And, I’ve always admired JK Rowling, and find her a huge source of inspiration.
EW: Do you ever find inspiration hard to come by? If so, what do you do when this happens?
BR: Sometimes if I get stuck on a book, I try watching movies or reading books in the same genre as I’m writing, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll put on some soundtracks to something like Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, or Pirates of the Caribbean – usually they’re exciting and motivational enough in themselves to get me writing, but they also make for great background music.
EW: What were your favourite bits to write in your novels?
BR: I love writing dramatic scenes – when everything seems to be going wrong for the protagonist, it’s always the most fun to write.
EW: What was the hardest bit?
BR: The hardest bit is almost always the start. I’ll come up with the ideas for the novel, and have an idea of where I want it to go, but I always find it hard to figure out the best way to start the book. I must’ve had a dozen different first chapters for The Kissing Booth before I found one I could work with.
EW: Where’s your writing space and what’s your writing process like?
BR: I usually write in my bedroom. When I was in school, I couldn’t write in the daytime, so I used to write later on in the evening and at night. And as for my writing process, I’ve never been able to plot stories – I always end up with a two totally different stories! I tend to come up with a blurb for the story and my characters first, and work from there.
EW: What would your top three YA romance films be?
BR: John Tucker Must Die, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Easy A.
EW: How did you feel when you were listed on Time’s ‘Most Influential Teen’ list of 2013?
BR: It was incredible! I had no idea about it beforehand, so when I saw it online I ran around my flat at uni waking people up to tell them. It was brilliant to be on the same list as people like Malia Obama, Malala, and Lorde.
EW: What are you reading this summer?
BR: I’ve read 23 books this summer already, and I’ve still got a huge pile left I’d like to get through! At the top of my to-be-read pile is Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, Solitaire by Alice Oseman, and A Dance With Dragons by George RR Martin.
EW: Tell us one thing most people don’t know about you
BR: I do a lot of knitting in my spare time. My grandmother taught me when I was little and I took it up again about two years ago. It’s really relaxing, and I’m working on a massive cable-stitch blanket.
EW: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
BR: Write, write, write! They say practice makes perfect, and if you want to write, just write. Even if you never show it to anyone, it’ll be such a great feeling when you finish your first book. I’d also recommend posting some of your work up to a site like Wattpad. It’s really encouraging to see people reading and enjoying your work, and the communities are really supportive.
EW: And one last bonus question – Can you pitch each of your novels in a tweet?
BR: What would you do if you fell for your best friend’s brother? That’s what happens to Elle – but can her friendship with bestie Lee survive? (The Kissing Booth)
Starting a new school is the perfect time to reinvent yourself. But does Madison stay with the cool kids at school or stand by the nerd? (Rolling Dice)
Ashley’s life is perfect on paper, but new boy-next-door Todd is going to make her realise that none of her life is as it seems… (Out of Tune)